The Best Pasta Pots with Strainer – 2021 Buyer’s Guide

cooked pasta in a pot

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What do you look to when you need a quick, yet satisfying meal? Pasta! Add some bacon, sausage, or maybe seafood on top of that, and it makes for a perfect meal.

If you’re someone who makes pasta a lot, having a good pot for that purpose proves to be useful. In which case, we’re referring to pasta pots with a strainer included, especially if you hate straining pasta. No more difficult draining and pasta strands falling out, making your pasta cooking experience that much easier.

In this article we talk about how to pick a good pasta pot, including the best size of a pot for pasta, followed by our very own top picks.

If you’re looking for a large capacity pasta pot, we recommend the All-Clad Specialty pot as the overall best, or the Cooks Standard as the affordable pick. Both of these are 12 quart.

For a smaller option, consider the All-Clad Essentials as the overall best, and the Gotham Steel for a value pick.

To skip straight to the full list, click here. Or if you need guidance picking the right one for your use cases, read our tips further down the article.


Shopping Guide: What to Look For in A Pasta Pot

If you’re in the market for a pot dedicated to cooking pasta, but not sure what you should look for when shopping, here are some features to take note of.

Size

To know what pot size to get for pasta cooking, the important question is to know how many servings you typically cook for.

To serve four, you would need 1 pound of pasta. For this amount, you should aim to fill the pot with 4-5 quarts of water. Taking into account the boiling motion of water and a little leeway (plus the pasta), aim for a pot sized around 7-8 quarts.

The bigger ones on our list measure 12 quarts, and will be able to cook for up to 8 servings comfortably.

Material

Cooking pasta in a stainless steel pot is the way to go. Not only do most modern stainless steel cookware come fitted with aluminum to improve heat conductivity, the most important characteristic you’re looking for is the non-reactivity of stainless steel.

three stainless steel cookware pieces on a surface
Sturdy stainless steel pieces with an encapsulated core make the best cookware you can find.

Because you might also use the pot to cook other foods – for example, the pasta sauce – having a non-reactive cooking surface is important. We explain all this further down the article, here.

Apart from stainless steel, aluminum is also a good choice. Although bare aluminum itself is reactive, most, if not all aluminum cookware nowadays are coated with either Teflon or ceramic, and some are hard-anodized. This makes them a safe choice for cooking reactive foods as well.

Type of Pot

Can you cook pasta in a stock pot? Sure you can, but a typical stock pot does not come with any inserts, and you would be missing out if you weren’t using a pot with a strainer insert.

The best type of pot for cooking pasta is actually what the manufacturers brand as multi-pot. They are, well, essentially stock pots, but come with their own sets of inserts. Usually, this includes a strainer insert, and typically also a steamer insert. Seeing that they’re common and can be found anywhere, there really is no excuse to not use these for cooking pasta.

Our Top Picks of Best Pasta Pots

Best Large Capacity: All-Clad Specialty 12-Qt Multi-Cooker Pot

When a cookware is from All-Clad, you know it’s going to be good. This stainless steel pasta pot is no exception, even snagging the title of best pasta pot from Cook’s Illustrated. Well, close. A little disclaimer: the exact one they recommended was actually the tri-ply stainless steel pot from All-Clad, but it sells for almost three times the price of this and comes with no strainer at all. In our opinion that’s not really justified, and this is a much easier piece to recommend overall.

Offering 12 quart of volume, this pot might admittedly be too big for some, especially those who have a small family and would never require a big pot. However, the versatility you get with this just brings so much convenience when you actually need it.

The All-Clad pasta pot is constructed with 18/10 high-grade stainless steel, and although unlike their more expensive lines, this one is only single-layer. That being said, it’s still a well-built piece that feels durable. The base is a thick aluminum layer so it is somewhat resistant to warping, and provides even and quick heating.

Overall, great build quality, great usability, great performance. This truly is one of the best pasta pots with inserts included, if not the best.

Pros:

  • Durable 18/10 high-grade stainless steel construction
  • Comes with a steamer basket alongside a pasta insert
  • Thick aluminum base for fast and even heating
  • Compatible with induction stoves
  • Oven-safe for up to 600°F
  • Dishwasher-safe

Cons:

  • Large capacity might be too bulky for some
  • Relatively pricey

Best Small Capacity: All-Clad Essentials 7-Qt Multipot

We normally try to avoid putting two products of the same brand in the same list, because there are just so many good brands out there, also to give our readers some variety. But in this case, we just couldn’t avoid giving two of our top titles to All-Clad – they’re just that good.

This is an even better option than the previous 12-quart one, if you don’t need the extra capacity in the first place anyway. All-Clad also has a 6-quart one in the same listing, if you’re going for even smaller. Although at the time of writing, they’re both priced the same, so we would recommend picking up the 7-quart for more versatility.

On the topic of this pot itself, it’s well-made and durable, with heavy-gauge anodized aluminum. This makes the pot resistant to warping. The stainless steel handles also come riveted onto the cookware piece so they’re extremely sturdy.

One downside of this well-built piece is, it’s not usable with induction stoves!

Pros:

  • Durable heavy-gauge anodized aluminum construction
  • Three layers of PFOA-free non-stick coating
  • Oven-safe for up to 500°F
  • Dishwasher-safe

Cons:

  • Not compatible with induction cooktops
  • Base is sort of slippery, so might slide on the cooktop a little if you’re using glass top stoves

Best Large Capacity Value Pick: Cooks Standard 12-Qt Multipot

If you’re looking for an affordable large-capacity pasta pot, this one from Cooks Standard can seriously rival the All-Clad, even at two drastically different price points.

It is made of the same 18/10 high-grade stainless steel, and also has an aluminum base for induction-compatibility. An advantage of the pasta insert included with this pot, compared with its competitors, is that it sits deeper. This means you don’t have to fill water to as high a level as in the other pots.

Although overall this does not feel as durable and robust as the All-Clad, it is still a well-built pot on its own regard.

Pros:

  • Durable 18/10 stainless steel construction
  • Includes a steamer insert alongside a pasta insert
  • Pasta insert sits deeper in the pot than most others, so there is no need to fill to a high water level to reach the bottom of the insert
  • Encapsulated aluminum bottom for induction compatibility
  • Oven-safe for up to 500°F
  • Dishwasher-safe

Cons:

  • Large capacity might be too bulky for some
  • A few seem to have gotten pieces that were prone to rusting – which is not the case with the typical pot you can expect to get from Cooks Standard

Best Small Capacity Value Pick: Gotham Steel 5-Qt Pasta Pot

If you’re looking for a smaller pot that takes up less space, this 5 quart pasta pot from Gotham Steel might be for you. As with the standard with many smaller pasta pots, this one doesn’t come with a strainer insert, but instead is a pasta pot with a strainer lid. The strainers come in two sizes, each on opposite sides, so you can adjust to fit your use case.

That being said, don’t let the lack of a strainer insert drive you off. Bring built into the lid doesn’t mean it’s harder to use. To improve on the experience, the manufacturer has included a twist-and-lock mechanism into the handles, to allow for the lid to be locked in place. This way, you’re able to strain without having to manually hold onto the lid.

In terms of build quality, this piece does it well too. Coated with PTFE- and PFOA-free ceramic non-stick coating, Gotham Steel says this cookware is metal utensil-safe. That being said, we don’t really have that much confidence in something that is sold at such an affordable price tag, and would suggest avoiding metal utensils.

Pros:

  • Compact size that doesn’t take up a lot of space
  • Strainer lid with twist-and-lock mechanism
  • PTFE- and PFOA-free ceramic non-stick coating
  • Oven-safe for up to 500°F
  • Dishwasher-safe

Cons:

  • Locking mechanism of lid could be a bit more sturdy
  • Not compatible with induction cooktops

Best Italian Design: Bialetti Oval 5-Qt Pasta Pot

A pot made for a specific type of food from its country of origin must be pretty good. This is what this pot is.

Made by the Italian company, this Bialetti pasta pot is another great pick for those who prefer a smaller pot. As with the Gotham Steel one, this one also doesn’t come with a strainer insert, but instead, a strainer lid. The locking mechanism is a little different here, in that you don’t twist the handles to lock the lid, but the lid handle itself, and it works great.

It is made of aluminum, as opposed to the widely popular stainless steel in our list. But it doesn’t mean it’s not a good material, because it does provide quick and even heating, even more so than stainless steel.

The Italian pasta pot comes also in an oval shape, so it’s easier to fit uncooked pasta into its small footprint. While great for normal usage, it does come with quite a few compromises though, including being not oven-safe, not induction-compatible, and not dishwasher-safe.

If you’re fine with the shortcomings though, this piece is possibly – in terms of overall build quality – the best pasta pot with a built-in strainer lid.

Pros:

  • Oval design to fit uncooked pasta strands
  • Aluminum construction allows for fast and even heating
  • Strainer lid with twist-and-lock mechanism
  • PFOA-free non-stick coating with great release

Cons:

  • Not oven-safe
  • Can’t be used on induction cooktops
  • Not dishwasher-safe
  • Quite rough on the bottom, might be unsuitable for glass top stoves
  • Quality control issues seem to have let a few lids that don’t fit the pot well get delivered to customers

As Seen On TV: 6-Qt “World’s Greatest Pot”

World’s greatest pot? Now that’s a bold name. According to them, this is the best pasta pot, with a strainer, as seen on TV. But does it actually live up to it? Looking at the Amazon ratings, eh, not so much.

What this pot has is a great idea, we’ll give it that. Most compact pasta pots have strainers built into the lid, and would require some sort of holding mechanism (either manually or built-in) to keep the lid in place when straining. This solves that problem.

Instead of building the strainer into the lid, it has a swiveling strainer insert that stays upright no matter how you tilt the pot. This makes it easy to drain any liquid away while keeping the food in.

However, as brilliant the idea may be, this piece suffers from some quality issues.

For one, when you lift it out from the box, it just doesn’t give off much hint of quality construction. The weight might have had something to do with it, but the exterior just doesn’t feel as premium and well-built as the competition.

Our verdict? Unless you absolutely love this design, we suggest picking any other one on our list.

Pros:

  • Lightweight at around 3.5 pounds
  • Built-in strainer design separates itself from the competition, which swivels to keep itself upright no matter how you tilt the pot
  • Compatible with induction stoves

Cons:

  • Quality is subpar, especially the exterior construction which does not give much confidence
  • Strainer handle material seems to be susceptible to rust – wiping it dry after use is a must
  • Not oven-safe
  • No mention of being dishwasher-safe

Honorable Mention: Calphalon Classic Stainless Steel 8-Qt Stock Pot

To be clear right off the bat, we’re not recommending this one for the time being until Calphalon responds and fixes the corroding rivets. Minus that defect though, it is a pretty great pot.

Being at 8 quart, this Calphalon pasta pot is just about the right size between being too big and too small. It also comes with a pasta insert as well as a steamer insert, like its bigger rivals from All-Clad and Cooks Standard. The base is also aluminum, so it works with induction. Oven-safe, dishwasher-safe, this pot has it all.

Talking about the quality, the construction is really good too. Looking at it and using it feels comparable to the All-Clad 12 quart pot we mentioned, for half the price!

Overall, this pot is a well-built one. Shame it comes with a flaw that completely ruins the pot. If this only shortcoming is fixed and improved upon, it’s a great pot that deserves all the recommendations in the world. A pity, really.

Just to add on, we’re not sure if it’s a quality control problem, but it doesn’t seem to be universal, seeing the number of positive 5-star reviews on Amazon. We don’t recommend doing so, but if you really do decide to take a leap of faith and pull the trigger on this purchase, hope for the best!

Note: Because we’re not directly recommending this piece, we have chosen to omit any prominent links to it. If you’re still interested though, you can check it out here. Or, if you’re interested in Calphalon’s other offerings, check out our list of the best Calphalon cookware sets.

Pros:

  • Durable brushed stainless steel construction
  • Perfect size, not too big, not too small
  • Aluminum base provides fast and even heating
  • Oven-safe
  • Compatible for use on induction cooktops
  • Dishwasher-safe although hand wash recommended

Cons:

  • Handle rivets prone to corrosion, which is a major flaw and for this reason, we are not recommending this piece

How to Pick For Your Use Case?

If you’re still having trouble choosing the right one for yourself, we’re here to help break it down for you.

If you’re using induction stoves, these two are pretty much the best pasta pots for induction cooktops:

Even though the “World’s Greatest Pot” offers induction compatibility, we’re generally more comfortable with recommending the ones from All-Clad or Cooks Standard just because of their quality.

If you’re not fixed on induction-compatible pieces though, there are more options.

For large capacity pots:

For small capacity pots:

Note that the Gotham Steel and Bialetti utilizes strainer lids. If you want inserts, we recommend the All-Clad Essentials as the best pasta pot with a strainer insert of a smaller capacity.

To pick Gotham Steel from the rest of the smaller ones is pretty easy – it’s the most affordable out of all three of them. But how do you pick between the All-Clad Essentials and the Bialetti? Essentially, that’s coming down to the preference of pot shape and the need for use in the oven and being dishwasher-safe. Bialetti offers a more friendly oval shape, sacrificing oven usability and being non-dishwasher-safe. Generally though, we would go with the All-Clad, as it offers better overall build quality and confidence.

To clarify, we don’t really recommend the “World’s Greatest Pot”. You can in fact, easily get pots that are many times greater than the allegedly “greatest”.

Well Then, Best Pot for Cooking Pasta Sauce?

Since we’re on the topic of pasta and the best pots to cook it, might as well talk about cooking the other half of it – the sauce.

a pot of meat sauce
How can we talk about pasta without talking about the sauce?

For this there’s really not many criteria, except one. Make sure the pot material is non-reactive!

Because pasta sauce is often made with reactive foods such as tomatoes, a reactive cooking surface would produce chemical reactions. As a result, traces of the material you’re cooking on could leach into your food, and depending on what it is, could range from harmless to toxic.

For this reason, avoid cast iron, unlined copper, or bare aluminum. The latter two are almost non-existent on the market right now, as copper is usually lined with stainless steel or tin, and aluminum is coated with either Teflon or some ceramic-based coating, and is often anodized. Even then, cast iron is still everywhere. Although iron is harmless in the amounts potentially leachable into your foods, it could still produce an unpleasant metallic taste.

Because of this, go for non-stick or ceramic-coated aluminum, or stainless steel. These two are pretty much the best materials for a pot or pan for cooking pasta sauce. While achieving the goal of being non-reactive, these materials also generally do very well in cooking about everything else.

Oh, enameled cast iron works too, but is heavy and is not our favorite for cooking pasta, or the sauce in.

Wrap Up

To recap, if you’re in the market for a new pasta pot, go for a stainless steel or an aluminum one. This way, the pot is also able to double as a sauce-cooking pot, without you having to worry about the cooking surface’s reactivity with food.

For a large capacity pasta pot, we recommend either the All-Clad 12 quart pot or for a more affordable option, the Cooks Standard 12 quart multi pot. Both of these are usable on induction cooktops.

For a smaller capacity pot, pick the Gotham Steel as a value-friendly option, or go with either the All-Clad Essentials or the Bialetti pot if you have the money to spend for a better-built one. Unfortunately, all of these are not compatible with induction stoves. As the small volume doesn’t require as much heat to bring it to the boiling point, the manufacturers have not seen the need to fit these with an aluminum base.

Pasta is good, but you can’t use the pot for everything. If you’re also shopping for other kinds of cookware, why not check out some of the best pans to cook fish in, or the best pans for steak.


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